Article by Jo Larsen, Director – Blush Photography
Now more than ever, with the exponential move into online retailing, designers and retailers are experiencing a level playing field to compete in the worldwide fashion marketplace. Online shopping continues to expand with the largest growth being seen in apparel and cosmetics. Apparel is already the biggest selling category on the internet.
Retailing as we have known it is changing and will continue to change. Australian retailers have been reluctant to move with the times and get their products on the internet, but many are now making this a priority as more and more consumers have the confidence to shop online, as shown by the Forrester Marketing Research firm showing the forecast for online sales in Australia:
So HOW do you get the edge in this competitive industry? Having a great product is simply not enough anymore!
The key is being true to your Brand, identifying who your customers are, translating the look and feel of your brand into your imagery and having a clear branding message. Then it is crucial to use a multi channelled approach to your advertising using a mix of traditional methods, social media and online marketing.
Today, using imagery consistent to your branding on your website and on social media is essential. Even in 2010, a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. So now more than ever you need to have “raving fans”.
It is imperative, to keep up with the ‘big guys’, that you brand yourself well and source a professional photographer who ensures you can capture the essence of the image you want to project. It is crucial to show your garments and accessories in their best light so you can then roll out your imagery into all areas of your marketing. Consumers will subconsciously decide if they like your brand or if they will consider buying from you within a millisecond of looking at your website or promotional material so it is crucial you get your image right!
Another challenge online traders face is building trust with those who are used to the ‘bricks and mortar’ retail approach where they can try, touch and feel. To alleviate the hesitance for shopping online and aid consumers in the decision making process, Blush Photography’s Melinda Kay has the following 8 Tips for your fashion website:
1. “Have a human element to your website – personal presence builds trust. If you are the designer/business owner/stylist/fashion expert put a professional photo of YOU on your website with relevant credentials & a little bit of info so that your customers can get to know you. People are more likely to buy from a site with a human face”.
A few words from Aneta Pazeski, founder of Bridesmaids Dressing Room:”I went to see BLUSH Photography because I needed some professional business photos of myself as the owner of BRIDESMAIDS DRESSING ROOM. Being in the fashion industry, I required high quality images to use for my personal profile, social media, BIO and for promotional purposes. Quite often in business you hear “You are your brand”, so I wanted to make sure that people could identify me as the owner of the business, and excude the element of professionalism and approachability that reflects my business brand. The team at BLUSH Photography were fantastic from the moment I arrived, and they were all very helpful and friendly. I was very happy with the hair and make-up looks, and the photographer gave me great guidance throughout the photo shoot session. It wasn’t all a “standard” photo shoot, as we incorporated mannequins in some of the settings to represent the styles of bridesmaid dresses we sell. The end result was a collection of amazing images. The hardest part was choosing my favourites…because I had so many! A huge thanks to the talented team at BLUSH Photography for an outstanding job. xxx”
2. You must have the highest quality of imagery possible to give your brand the edge is this highly competitive industry. Generally speaking better imagery equals better sales.
3. Use imagery that shows what your garments and accessories look like on a model who suits your branding, image and demographic. Eg. PlusHQ show what their garments look like on a real Plus sized woman while capturing the modern funky feel of their brand www.plushq.com.au
4. Make sure your imagery shows all of the relevant detail of garments clearly & all of the colours are accurate. Product shots work best when photographed against a clean white background.
5. Offer online styling advice published next to your images on your website to increase add-on sales (eg. if you like this shirt we recommend wearing with x,y and z. Keep it simple and visual).
6. Provide your customers with garment suggestions based on their body shape or style.
7. Have clear and accurate sizing recommendations to avoid returns & offer a return policy consumers can have confidence in (alot of companies offer free shipping as well as free return shipping).
8. Consider utilising technologies like a virtual fitting room www.fits.me ”
Traditional shopping as we know it is certainly not dead but now is the time to embrace the changes in the fashion world if you want to succeed.
‘Image’ experts, Blush Photography, recently exhibited at a Fashion Industry tradeshow Fashion Exposed Expo which also included the Bags & Accessories Fair & the Australian Shoe Fair. As a result we met lots of new potential fashion clients & booked some exciting upcoming fashion shoots. PLUS – we are currently running a competition open to anyone in the fashion industry to WIN a Fashion Photography Package worth over $10,000!! Just tell us in 25 words or less why your brand deserves to WIN! Prize includes a Branding consultation, a one day photo shoot (either on location or in studio), one model, styling, make-up & hairstyling (up to 6 looks) & 50 high resolution images on disk including copyright & basic editing! Plus just for registering each entrant will also receive a complimentary personal image makeover & photo shoot worth $150 & 10% off any commercial photography services for 2012. ENTER HERE Winner announced 5.10.12.